Hotel Online  Special Report

Orient-Express Appoints Executive Chef James van Biljon
to Oversee Botswana's Safari Camp Dining 
July 1, 2005 – Orient-Express Safaris, three of the most perfectly located safari camps in the world (Savute Elephant Camp, Khwai River Lodge and Eagle Island Camp) on the mighty Okavango Delta, is pleased to welcome new Executive Chef James van Biljon, who is now overseeing all three kitchens and producing some of the finest food to be found in Botswana.

Far surpassing offerings of most remote safari lodges with fresh ingredients flown in regularly from Johannesburg, Van Biljon prepares all stocks, sauces, dressings, breads, cakes and pastries from scratch. Pre-drive breakfast includes fresh fruit, Bulgarian yogurts and piping hot muffins, while brunch offerings consist of fluffy omelettes, blueberry pancakes and cinnamon French toast – all made to order of course. Unique salads and savouries include avocado with sweet green melon and chives tossed with raspberry vinaigrette and sunflower seeds, cous cous salad with beef, baby marrow, patty pans, jalapeños and red onion tossed with poppy seed dressing, sesame rolls stuffed with barbecue sirloin and beef sausages with sweet corn fritters.  “Bush bites” served on the evening game drive feature refreshing pick-me-ups such as sushi-style rolls with marinated ginger, cucumber, carrot and spring onions and bite-size beef with horseradish cream cheese and jalapeño chilli.

In addition to Khwai River Lodge’s traditional candlelit dinners under a blanket of stars in the main dining area, guests now have the option to enjoy private dining in the Bird Hide, a “tree house” of sorts that is slightly removed from the main building with idyllic views of Khwai River for optimum romance. Similarly, the Fish Eagle Bar at Eagle Island Camp offers couples a supreme setting overlooking the water.  Those who wish even more privacy and intimacy can now dine on their tent’s veranda, while those looking for an indigenous dining experience will enjoy the traditional Boma at Savute Elephant Camp.

Dinner delectables change daily but feature items such as lamb shank with lavender jus, horseradish mash and roasted vegetables tossed with basil pesto or a traditional Botswana bobotie (curried minced lamb cooked with Cape Malay spices and topped with a savoury egg custard) or potjie (African stew, often game, served in a small three-legged pot) simmered in beer, tomato and garlic and served with hot sesame puff pastry rounds. Van Biljon has also been thoughtfully expanding vegetarian options as well.

Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises is a hotel and leisure company providing luxury travel experiences for discerning travellers in areas of outstanding cultural, historic or recreational interest.  Founded in 1976 when the company acquired Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Orient-Express owns or has investments in 49 businesses: 38 highly individual hotels, three restaurants, six tourist trains and two river cruise operations, located in 22 countries worldwide. 


Melanie Brandman

Also See: Executive Chef Paul Bramel Set to Open 12,000 Sq Ft Dream Kitchen at the Expanded Grand Wayne Convention Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana / May 2005
The Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, NY Opens for its 96th Season; David McLean Lockwood Named Executive Chef / May 2005

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